QBE Commits To 100% Renewable Electricity

QBE renewable energy

Insurance giant QBE has joined the RE100 initiative and pledged to source “100 per cent” renewable electricity for its operations around the world by the end of 2025.

RE100 is an initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP; bringing together big businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. To date, 178 companies have made a commitment to switch to 100% renewables under the RE100 banner.

QBE says it is the first Australian headquartered insurance business to join the initiative.

“As an international insurer, with insurance products covering a diverse portfolio around the globe, we are acutely aware of the risks and opportunities that climate change presents for our customers and our business,” said QBE Insurance Group CEO, Pat Regan. ” This decision aligns with QBE’s support for the objectives of the Paris Agreement and our efforts to support the transition to a lower carbon economy.”

The company will attempt to source renewable electricity locally in each of its operating divisions, but says where this isn’t possible renewable energy certificates will be purchased to achieve its 100% goal.

The commitment builds on previous work the company has undertaken to slash its emissions – and to reduce its overall energy use by 15 per cent by 2021, based on 2018.

QBE says last year it offset 47,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent across its operations and that it had achieved carbon neutrality for its business operations in 2018 through the Qantas Future Planet program.

QBE Backing Away From (Some) Fossil Fuels

The insurer has previously come under fire for providing services to and investing in fossil fuel companies and projects – and it appears the company has been listening.

In December last year, QBE confirmed it wasn’t providing insurance services to Adani’s Carmichael mine and rail construction project in Queensland and did not intend to do so in the future.

In March this year the company announced it would phase out its entire thermal coal business by 2030 at the latest. Starting 1 July 2019, QBE will not provide new direct insurance services for new thermal coal mine, coal-fired power station or coal transport infrastructure projects.

The company has also committed to targeting zero direct investments in the thermal coal industry by 1 July this year.

However, according to Market Forces, QBE intends to continue insuring and investing in oil and gas companies and projects – although the door has been left open for this to be phased out also.

A shareholder resolution calling for the company to set targets to phase out exposure to all fossil fuels was lodged at QBE’s annual general meeting on 9 May 2019, but it only achieved 7.8% of the vote – a result blamed on major investors.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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